3/09/2008

Bigfoot...

I just got back from spending some time at Borders reading Kitchen Confidential, which is the first book that the Josh & Puddles' Book Club is tackling.

I'm always surprised when I'm reading a book that's nowhere near Christian and stumble upon something that speaks to my relationship with God or my ministry. Tonight, I found some great insight in Bourdain's recollections of his old boss whom, in the interest of keeping his identity secret, he refers to as "Bigfoot". In fact, one thing that he wrote was so good, I'm going to turn it into an Important Thought tomorrow...

Here's some other sweet tidbits from Bourdain's stories of "Bigfoot":

  • "I was rail-thin, shaky, and the first thing I did was ask my old pal Bigfoot if he could lend me twenty-five bucks until payday. Without hesitation, he reached in his pocket and lent me two hundred-a tremendous leap of faith on his part... he must have had every reason to believe I'd disappear with the two bills, spend it on crack, and never show up for my first shift... I was so shaken by his baseless trust in me... that I determined I'd sooner gnaw my own fingers off, gouge my eyes out with a shellfish fork and run naked down Seventh Avenue than ever betray that trust." -I love how, after showing Bourdain some unexpected compassion in a time of need, Bigfoot gained his trust and loyalty. I think that's such an important value for us to hold to in ministry. Treat our people like family, show them we care, and they'll do the same when we need them...

  • "Bigfoot understood... that character is far more important than skills or employment history... Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don't have." -So true. No matter how great a team member may look on paper, if they're not living a life of passionate pursuit of God, they're not the right person for the job. I'd rather have a team of four leaders who are completely in love with God that I have to train, than a team of ten luke-warm veterans. Ministry is about relationships and character and love for God shines most brightly in that context. You'll be able to see, almost immediately, if a person if for real...

  • "He had a near-supernatural sense of exactly when, at what precise moment, one of his employees had had enough... He knew just when to apply that well-timed pat on the back, the strangled and difficult-for-him "Thank you for your good work" appreciation of your labors." -This is an incredibly important piece of management wisdom. We have to constantly communicate with our team so that we can know how they're doing. It's so easy, without care, to get burned out in ministry. Part of our job, as leaders, is to do everything we can to guard our team and help guide them away from it...

  • "The most important and lasting lessons I learned from Bigfoot were about personnel and personnel management- that I have to know everything, that I should never be surprised." -I take this as an exhortation to get to know my team. Who are they? What do they do? What are their passions? The better you know your team, the easier it is to care for them. The better you care for your team, the more you can empower them to minister...
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